|Dennis Potthast: Mr. Wizard|
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. It's not warm when shes away.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. And she's always gone too long.
Anytime she goes away.
Then he started to play. I think I stopped breathing. By the time he got to the lines "And I know, I know, I know, I know," we all knew. The three musicians nodded to each other and began to play along. Dennis "Mr. Wizard" Potthast from St. Louis was the real thing.
He then performed his poem, "I Don't Wanna Be Hungry." I had never heard of dub poetry before, but I knew immediately that Klyde Broox, who had immigrated to our corner of southern Ontario, was the real thing. Poetry was never the same for me again.
The real thing is out there in the arts, but also in every area of life -- politics, teaching, justice, technology. The real thing is magnetic. You are pulled towards it. You think that maybe it's a subjective experience, that the speaker, singer, writer is speaking to you - and then you realize that everyone is having the same reaction.
Robert Pirsig calls this experience the Metaphysics of Quality: "the pre-intellectual cutting edge of reality" because it can be recognized before it can be conceptualized. We know it before words try unsuccessfully to explain it - and the memory of that feeling lasts.
Do you remember the scene from The West Wing when Charley meets President Bartlett for the first time? Charley says to Josh, "I never felt like this before."
Josh replies, "It doesn't go away."
What's your experience of the real thing?